January 12, 2018

Born of a Virgin

Matthew 1:18-23

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

—  Isaiah 7:14

In the days of King Hezekiah of Judah, the Assyrians destroyed Samaria and took the northern tribes of Israel captive. Later, they were at the gates of Jerusalem. In mockery the Assyrian field commander derided the people: “Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria?” (2 Kings 18:33). All the people of Jerusalem were terrified. But Isaiah had prophesied earlier, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” In other words, the people needed to trust that God was with them—that’s what Immanuel means.

Jesus’ followers today see the first coming of Jesus in this prophesy. Jesus was both born of a virgin and is “God with us,” Immanuel. God’s angel delivered Israel from the Assyrians (2 Kings 19:35-36), and Jesus delivers us from the tyranny of the devil, from the power of our sinful nature, and from the temptations of our fallen world.

The fact that Jesus was born to Mary, a virgin, reveals amazing things about the Lord. Jesus is the Son of God and has the same eternal nature as God. Immanuel is with us; we have nothing to fear. Immanuel is with us—and since God is for us, who can stand against us? Immanuel is with us; in all things we are more than conquerors through Christ, who loves us (Romans 8:31-37).

Lord, your birth fulfills the prophecy; you control history. Take control of my life today, O Immanuel. Thank you. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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